The calendar indicates that it is officially summer, and that means cookouts! Yes, we are getting outside and using our grills, fryers, and boilers to entertain and delight family and friends. One of the mainstays for the summer menu is seafood. OK, we love our seafood fried. But, if you love seafood then you also love a seafood boil. A seafood boil is a great dish for get-togethers because it’s fun, communal, and easy to clean up–not to mention, it is full of delicious flavor! Would you like to know how to make a seafood boil? Everything you need to know is in this article.

What Is a Seafood Boil?

With a tradition that spans generations and regions of the country, the boil is primarily rooted in the Gulf coastal regions of the South, the Carolinas, and the New England coastal region where the seafood is plentiful. The seafood boil differs slightly from region to region as local seafood changes from place to place, but the core ingredients are pretty much the same. The boil itself is comprised of boiled shrimp, crabs, smoked sausage, corn, and potatoes. You can add crawfish if you are from Louisiana or lobster if you are located in New England. If you want to, you can throw in mussels, scallops, or chunks of firm fish like swordfish. The spices and sauces that can accompany the boil are what make each boil different. Everything from Creole spices to butter garlic enhances the fish and gives the boil a special flavor.

Let’s look at the classic Southern seafood boil recipe and some sauce variations that can make yours unique.

Seafood Boil Recipe

This recipe is called the “Ultimate Seafood Boil.” It uses the best of the best with shrimp, crab, and lobster.


  • 16 cups water
  • 2 large lemons, sliced
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp creole seasoning
  • 3 lbs king crab legs
  • 2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 lb crab claws
  • 4-6 lobster tails
  • 2 lbs andouille sausage or your favorite smoked sausage, sliced
  • 8 ears of fresh corn, each ear cut into 3 parts
  • 5 medium potatoes

What You Do

  1. Clean the seafood and herbs.
  2. Slice up the 2 large lemons and 1 large onion and put into a large pot.
  3. Add the parsley, fresh thyme, dill, and cloves of garlic.
  4. Add 1 stick of salted butter, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning
  5. Pour 16 cups of cool water and place the pot over high heat.
  6. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium high.
  7. Let the water cook for 45 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium.
  9. Scoop out all the herbs.
  10. Add the andouille sausage and corn. Let cook for 15 minutes
  11. Next add in the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  12. Start adding in the crab legs & claws and the lobster tails. Cook for 15 minutes.
  13. Toss in the shrimp and turn the heat off.
  14. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Seafood Boil Sauce with Garlic Butter

This seafood boil sauce is rich, spicy, buttery, and very garlicky!


  • Garlic
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Chicken Broth
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Brown Sugar

What You Do

  1. Add butter and oil to a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Once the butter is melted, add onions and stir fry until soft.
  3. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  4. Add Old Bay Seasoning, lemon pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Mix together.
  5. Turn the heat to low and add the remaining butter.
  6. Simmer until the butter is melted, stirring constantly.
  7. Add chicken broth and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  8. Remove from heat and either pour the sauce over your seafood boil or serve it as a dipping sauce.

Other Additions

You can make variations on this sauce by adding any of these:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • beer
  • honey
  • Korean red paste
  • chili oil
  • Cajun seasoning
  • bay leaves and fresh ginger (makes it into a Louisiana sauce)

Come See Us at NC Seafood Restaurant in Raleigh!

If we’ve got you thinking about seafood and you aren’t entertaining with a seafood boil tonight, come see us at N.C. Seafood Restaurant at the Farmers Market in Raleigh! We can do the cooking for you with our delicious Calabash seafood that is the best in Raleigh. Look at our menu and join us for dine-in or take-out. We’d love to see you!